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Anti-Terrorism Documentary’s Oscar Night

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment
CNN – Feb 27, 2011

CNN talks to executive producer Carie Lemack about “Killing in the Name,” a documentary about Islamic terrorism. 
The Oscar ceremony is held in Kodak Theatre in Hollywood tonight Feb 27, 2011 at 6 pm. 

Obama must back Iran’s green revolt

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment
All the International hands (U.S. & EU) are in motion to support and eventually impose either the Musavi-led green movement or the MEK as a replacement for the Islamic regime in Iran. They don’t even want to think about a secular democratic direction as an alternative for the future Iranian government. The following excerpt is authored by one of their green-disciple legionnaires.
Abbas Milani – February 28, 2011
WHEN protests erupted on the Iranian streets in 2009, Barack Obama adopted a deliberately cautious tone. Mindful of the fact he was simultaneously trying to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, and afraid that his open support would make an indigenous revolt seem like a tool of foreign influence, the US President condemned the use of violence against the Green Movement, but stopped short of backing their heartfelt calls for freedom and democracy.

Again on February 14, many of Iran’s major cities were rocked by thousands of brave and determined demonstrators, who defied a government ban on protest, and took to the streets. This time Obama has gone further – he has offered moral support, and for the first time, his national security adviser has issued a statement supporting the Iranian democrats.

But the President has yet to appreciate the potential impact a truly vigorous, full-throated and forceful stand in favour of the Green Movement could have on the Middle East at this moment – because the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is now on display as never before.
The latest protests were the first time Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the Green Movement leaders who had called for the demonstration, openly engaged in an act of civil disobedience, inviting their followers to come out in defiance of the government ban.
It was stated on many Iranian websites and blogs that the reason Egypt’s million demonstrators could bring down their government, while Iran’s three million could not, was that the Green Movement had been truly green and inexperienced. They had simply demanded reforms, whereas it should have been clear even in 2009 that no credible reform was possible within the existing power structure.
Ayatollah Khamenei and his cohorts responded with maximum force. More than 200 members of the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, turned the supposedly dignified setting into a scene more reminiscent of beer gardens filled with brawling Brownshirts. These politicians gathered in a circle, shouting and demanding the death of opposition leaders,Mousavi, Karroubi and even Khatami, who had nothing to do with the demonstrations. A sudden remarkable surge in the number of executions occurred in the jails, obviously calculated to frighten people from participating in any future demonstrations.
Everyone in a key position of power, and even those who had retired, was forced to issue a statement supporting Khamenei. And in the days after the demonstrations, the regime shamelessly announced that 1500 people had been arrested.
Afraid of the repercussions of either arresting Mousavi and Karroubi or of leaving them free to continue their open defiance, the regime has now put Karroubi, Mousavi and his wife, Rahnavard, under house arrest.
Most striking about this crackdown was the hypocrisy of the Iranian government’s rhetoric. Worried that developments in Egypt and Tunisia would invigorate Iranian democrats, the regime offered a counter-narrative that argued that these events were actually reverberations of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The regime has not been deterred from repeating its illusory claims despite the fact the official site of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has more than once rejected Khamenei’s claim, insisting that Egypt is experiencing a democratic revolution, not an Islamic one; despite the fact the head of Tunisia’s Islamic forces declared on returning to his country after 20 years of exile, that he is neither a Khomeini nor a bin Laden; and despite the fact that al-Azhar, the oldest university in the world, and the world’s most important centre of Sunni theology, issued a statement condemning Khamenei’s interference in the affairs of Egypt, and condemning the Iranian regime’s abuse of Islam and the Koran.
It mattered little to the regime that during the period when it was shooting members of the Green Movement, it was demanding that the Bahraini government respect its people’s right to demonstrate, and that it has spent recent weeks lambasting Hosni Mubarak for using violence against his people.
Regimes such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, which base their survival on fear and intimidation, constantly face the danger of that elusive moment when suddenly the masses lose their fear. The Iranian people, three-fifths of whom are under 30, and more than 30 million of whom are connected to the internet, are clearly searching for that moment, and testing the limits of the security forces’ fealty to the regime.
The recent report that some commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard have in the past week written a letter to their superiors indicating an unwillingness to shoot their own people is, if true, the first credible crack in the pillars of the regime’s apparatus.
Other parts of the security apparatus – the Artesh (or military) and the police – have already shown signs of unwillingness to take part in the killing of their fellow citizens. And it is not clear how many of the hundreds of thousands of basijis – gangs-cum-militia – will kill their neighbours or family. And the fact the powerful Ayatollah Rafsanjani, despite increasing pressure on him to clearly side with Khamenei, has still refused to do so shows the depth of the fissures in the clerical establishment.
Thus it is time to speak up for democratisation. With the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime so exposed, Obama should no longer be worried that full-throated rhetorical and political support for the opposition could rebound against the US. And now most of the international community is united around sanctioning Iran for its nuclear activities, there is less need for Obama to assure Khamenei he does not want regime change.
Along with other members of the international community – particularly Turkey – the US should further isolate the regime, thus serving notice to them that continued brutality against their people will beget a fate similar to South Africa. Turkey, too, must be reminded that it cannot be the leader of a democratic Middle East while embracing the region’s most brutal regime.
It is by no means clear the government in Tehran will crumble next week, next month, or even in the next decade – yet the same thing could have been said about Egypt, Tunisia and Libya 10 years, a month, or even a week ago. Moreover, the benefits for the Middle East could be truly breathtaking. With Egypt on a perilous path to possible democracy and Turkey already a working democratic society, the advent of democracy in Iran could easily tip the regional balance towards democracy, the rule of law and reason. By supporting the Green Movement along with other liberal movements throughout the Middle East, Obama can help to make it so.
The New Republic
Abbas Milani is a New Republic contributing editor and the Hamid and Christina Moghadam director of Iranian Studies at Stanford, where he is the co-director of the Iran Democracy Project. His latest book is The Shah.

America: Break the Silence on Islam

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Amil Imani -February 26, 2011
The American people must hear the truth about Islam continually until they are completely aware of its dangers. Sadly, our Churches dare not speak up for fear of being accused of intolerance toward another religion. Our academia, the university professors, left or right, dare not, because, most likely, they would lose their salaries. Our politicians dare not because they are master practitioners of euphemism, hedging, doubletalk, and outright deception, and they need your votes as well as your moneyOur editors dare not because they would lose subscribers and fear of being shut down. Businessmen dare not because they might lose customers and clientele. Even ordinary clerks dare not because they might be discharged. So I thought I would tell you.
My fellow Americans, America is faced with a formidable enemy. This enemy has a name:  Islam. I think it is time to revisit the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and see if Islam is qualified as a religion. Is this an outlandishly absurd proposal?
Not at all, serious problems require equally serious solutions. The call for evaluation of the First Amendment may be seen as an attempt to curb Islam or other militant cults. The truth is: it is. It is truly a matter of survival of the United Statesand the free world.
It is time to take a stand and shift the debate to orthodox Islam.  We do not have to investigate every other religion on earth in order to compare them or offer opinion about their relative “goodness” in order to declare that on the whole Islam perpetuates evil.  Let others devolve into religious disagreements.  But for those commentators who would respond:  “OK great, so now what…you claim Islam is evil.  How do we combat that?”  Your response is already clear:  Through the spread of truth, not deceit.  Through voluntary social sanctions and laws in every civilized country that forbid evil practices like Sharia, coercion and violence against women, threats against those who disagree, honor killings, apostasy  and other hate crimes.  Let the world know the truth and decide for itself.  Let Muslims who come to their senses opt out.
Islam is not a religion
America, with a long history of protecting religious freedom, still clings to the “hands off” practice of leaving alone any doctrine or practice billed as religion. A thorny problem is in deciding what constitutes a religion and who is to make that call. The dictionary supplies a sociologically useless definition for religion: “The expression of man’s belief in and reverence for a superhuman power recognized as the creator and governor of the universe.” Just about anyone or any group under this definition can start a religion, and they indeed do—and some do so at significant costs to others.
Muslims, under the banner of religion, are infringing blatantly on the rights of others, not only in Islamic countries, but also in much of the non-Muslim world. By their acts of dogmatic barbarity, Muslims are slowly awakening the non-Muslim democracies to the imminent threat of Islamic terrorism keen on destroying their free secular and free societies.
As more and more Muslims arrive in American land, as they reproduce with great fecundity, as they convert the disenchanted and minorities, and as petrodollar-flush Muslims and Muslim treasuries supply generous funds, Muslims gather more power to undermine  a serious challenge to the American system of governance—democracy. As for democracy, the rule of the people, Muslims have no use at all. Muslims believe that Allah’s rule must govern the world in the form of Caliphate—a theocracy. Making mockery of democracy, subverting its working, and ignoring its provisions is a Muslim’s way of falsifying what he already believes to be a sinful and false system of governance invented by the infidels.
Quran 5:50 “Do they then seek the legislation of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in legislating than Allah for a people who have Faith.”
Quran 5:45 “And whoever rules not by what Allah has revealed, those are the wrongdoers.”
Quran 12:40 “The rule is only for Allah.”
Quran 18:26 “And He (Allah) allows none to share in his rule.”
A consortium composed of pandering liberal politicians, blinded by short-term self-interest and egotism, attention and fund-seeking self-proclaimed prima donnaprofessors; and, bastions of useful idiots, are the witting or unwitting promoters ofUmmah-ism.
Christianity and other peaceful religions:
Unlike some peaceful religions such as Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism , Zoroastrianism and Christianity which advocate universally understood principles of good within their Holy books, and perhaps other religious doctrines (with which I am not personally familiar), Islam cannot be reformed.  An example, when the Christian Catholic church was reformed, it was the church that was found to be in violation of Biblical teachings.  It had in many ways become anti-Christian.
Reform restored orthodoxy to the plain and well-understood concepts revealed by Christ and the disciples (one of the reasons it took so long was the church forbade lay-people from reading the bible or translating it from the dead language Latin…so Europeans were largely ignorant except for what they were told…see the story of Martin Luther).  Some evolutionary ideas such as abolition of slavery were not addressed in the Bible (in part because Christ was after the souls not the bodies), but the other teachings such as compassion, forgiveness, non-violence, and brotherly love are and were always incompatible with slavery.  Therefore it should be no surprise that eventually Christians in Europe and America led the abolitionist movement (they were scripturally correct).  If a Christian bombs an abortion clinic, there is no scriptural commandment supporting this.  It is unchristian (however, it is not unchristian to denounce abortion and seek to make it illegal and thus prevent abortionists from practicing their craft).
It is sad when the counter-argument to this definition of Christianity is lame references to Old Testament violence.  Old Testament stories are taught in Christianity as historical fact, not prescriptions based on Christian ethics.  If to a Christian, God is sanctioned a violent act, it is 100% irrelevant to the New Covenant that is taught by Jesus.  So to say…yeah but the Bible has violence in it too is insultingly banal and misleading.
If some Christians abused their doctrine and hid behind the Cross to justify their personal desire to kill, enslave, and conquer, then they are and always were sinners and they are wrong; and this is why Christianity has taken the natural form it has today…as a religion of peace and compassion (even if many supposed Christians continue to sin).  This is not to say that Christians are unable to defend themselves, or intervene to stop injustice.  Christians are taught to hate the sin and love the sinner…period!  The decision to become aggressive is always a burden on the Christian conscience.
But Islam does not tolerate revisionism in its beliefs or practices over time. Reform is not at play, because one cannot point to Jihadists or terrorists and say Muhammad did not advocate it.  He most certainly did, and delighted in his evil thoughts.  Islam is a literal religion, taking unabrogated scripture as eternal and absolute.  Moreover, there are no calls in Islam for compassion, forgiveness, non-violence, and brotherly love.  Instead there are specific prescriptions for retain evil with evil, eternal warfare, religious hegemony, slavery, killing Jews, taxing nonbelievers, stoning, promulgating terror, establishing a caste social system, and perpetuating discrimination against women.  The only way to reform Islam is discarding Sharia, but also purging the Quran itself of enormous suras that are not only patently false, but totally repugnant to a civilized humanity. This line of thinking, to sanitize Islam is explicitly forbidden in the Quran:
Quran 2:85:”Do you, then, believe in some parts of the divine writ and deny the truth of other parts? What, then, could be the reward of those among you who do such things but ignominy in the life of this world and, on the Day of Resurrection; they will be consigned to most grievous suffering? For God is not unmindful of what you do.”
What about radical Islam?
Therefore there is no such thing as “radical Islam.”  And those who take a “liberal” view of Islam should be forced to back up their nouveau interpretation with unabrogated scriptural facts.  Unless such “reformists” can denounce fascist Islam with scripture, they are the true radicals, which is why we never see them pointing to scriptural arguments against jihad…they cannot because they are lying. Islamic terrorists are only doing exactly what Muhammad demanded, and his demands were not suggestions and they were not ephemeral.  They were “perfect,” eternal ultimata.  Let us not forget that the terrorists are faithful and true to what is written in their holy book.
The notion that only those who denounce what is plainly Islamic (and just as plainly repulsive) are therefore the tools of Jews, or right-wing, paranoid, NASCAR-loving, gun-rights-worshipping, evangelical Christians must be exhaustively combated and rejected.  This politicizing and obscuring reality only keeps people confused, inured, and numb.
But because both those who believe Islam is defective and those who believe it has been hijacked are equally in opposition to terrorism and coercion, there is confusion about how Islam should be regarded.  Perhaps the contrasting viewpoints should be named so they can be referred to as valid concepts.  The notion that Islam is peaceful, but that only “radicals” are usurping and distorting the “peace-of-Islam” should be called:  Islam-revisionism and advocates called Islam-Revisionists. 
The notion that Islam is inherently violent, coercive, harsh, Jihad-oriented…and that it advocates slavery, intolerance, and inequality…and that such traditional and realistic interpretations cannot be reformed should be called Islam-realism and such advocates called Islam-realists.
Once the side of realists has a name and can distinguish itself from wishful revisionists, the public can begin to see that there are many voices which (without advocating a specific competing religion) can denounce Islam per se, and can speak to the real reasons. Islam continues its onslaught, and can counter any senseless position, such as reforming them and bringing democracy and tolerance to their lands (the RINOS position).
What do our elected official say about Islam?
Recall how many times former President George W. Bush praised Islam?  Recall President George Bush’s love affairs with the Shaikh Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and President Obama’s bow to the Saudis’ Shaikh?  Apparently, both presidents were/are unaware of the existence of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasans in the United States military, though the entire 8 years of the presidency of George W. Bush consumed around the 9/11 tragedy and Islamic terrorism.  Next in line to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia is the largest sponsor and supporter of Islamic terrorism in the world. Go figure!
Please tell the American people what has been done since this Muslim-American Maj. savagely killed 14 people while shouting Allah-o-Akbar (one unborn child) and hurting 30 others? As I noted, the recent dastardly mass murder at Fort Hood, committed by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan will be forgotten by the public before very long. Life will continue on its deadly course, pushed along in a variety of ways by agents of death, Islamists. Only the families who lost their loved-ones and those who survived the bullets have to live the rest of their lives with incapacitating injuries and, in the main, won’t be able to put the episode behind them.
Those who claim that they want to reform Islam want to transform it by stripping it of a great many provisions that are anathema to civilized humanity. These people are, in fact, trying to make a new religion out of the old with no divine authority that was, supposedly, bestowed upon Muhammad to launch his religion.
If I am right, then Islam will always be a bête noire to the West.  Even dopey secularists and leftists will realize that fact one day, perhaps only after their delusions sink all of us.  But realizing the fact that this religious power is at eternal war with you is not an act of hopelessness, and therefore it is not a call to pollyanishness.  It simply means we must always be on our guard and never self-deluded.  It may mean we have to leave the Islamists alone and hope that their people slowly convert to another religion or become unaffiliated.  Until then, we should keep our powder dry.
There is no such a thing as radical Islam
I have refused to accept several organizations that seek to combat or expose the antics of “radical” or “extreme” Islam, because I know that it is not extremism that is causing the violence…it’s mainstream, typical, normal, traditional, specified, canonical Islam. 
There are those who with a wink and a nod understand this but continue to work as revisionists because they are afraid of starting a religious war, even as they feel compelled to do something.  They tell me, “You can’t openly accuse an entire religion of being evil!  That would just incite them and make them hate us even more.”  My response: the war started in the 7th century, and if in the 21st century we still refuse to accept that reality, then there is perhaps no hope at all for civilization.  Nothing good can come from deception.
I argue that any belief system that licenses murder in the name of Jihad and the conquering and subduing of the world of the infidels by the Ummah, should be outlawed. Prophet Mohammad brewed up a militant, radical and extremely irrational imperialistic cult that sought world dominance. My fellow travelers, let us make one thing clear; Islam is no more a religion deserving our respect or legal recognition than is cannibalism.  
What can the American people do?
It is time for the Americans to call upon the lawmakers of the United States of America to immediately create a safety board and commissioner to study and examine the dangers of Islamic dogma in our society. In the monumental task of dealing with Islam, every individual, group and government must combine their resources and energies to prevail. The destiny of the civilized life hangs in the balance. Shirking responsibility is an unpardonable act of every enlightened human being and organization that values human liberty and dignity.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and a pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website at www.amilimani.com. Amil Imani is the author of the smashing book Obama Meets Ahmadinejad.

Where is Obama as Middle East boils?

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

William J. Bennett CNN Contributer

After witnessing a vacuum of leadership and an apparent fecklessness in dealing with crises abroad during Jimmy Carter’s administration, some concluded the presidency was too big for one man. It took President Reagan’s leadership and rhetoric to rid the popular mind of that notion. Today, a stagnating economy and tumult from the Middle East to Africa is making us again question our idea of the job of president. There is, of course, one person who can restore our faith in the presidency: the president. But as one looks at the major events unfolding abroad right now, it is hard to conclude that he will do that. Or that he can. In Egypt last month, the U.S. administration sent confusing messages both to the government and the protesters in the streets. One day, we were standing with Hosni Mubarak, the next with the protesters in the street. And then, the next, we were saying positive things about the Muslim Brotherhood. And then we were correcting that. As commentator Niall Ferguson concluded from our actions and statements there, “Tragically, no one knows where Barack Obama’s map of the Middle East is.”
Our administration finally found a clear voice on Egypt, and the message from the president was to stand with those who demanded Mubarak’s ouster, that they were a “moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice.” He compared them to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Nobody knows whether the arc of history will bend toward justice there, and right now we should have great concern, especially as the Muslim Brotherhood is flexing its muscles and windpipes.


In Egypt, as with other places boiling with protest and possible internal regime replacement, the outcomes are just not certain: Things very well may get better, that arc may bend, but it is anything but guaranteed. As historian Benny Morris put it recently, “When the dust settles, which it will, in a month or two or three’s time, one will see that Western — and Israeli — interests in the Middle East will have been substantially undermined and anti-Western — and anti-Israeli — interests substantially bolstered.


“Similarly, one will see that the regimes which are, by nature and tradition very brutal, such as Iran’s, Syria’s and possibly Libya’s, will weather the storm, whereas those which are softer, more inclined to measures of liberalization, partly because of attentiveness to messages from Washington, will either have fallen or will have given ground, and a large measure of power, to anti-Western, often Islamist, elements within each country.” But Morris and those who think Libya will continue on with Moammar Gadhafi as its leader will remain correct only if the United States continues in its muddled message. It has taken the president several days to say something about the brutality in Libya, and now, having spoken, his words are left wanting.


He was more forceful (when he was forceful) in his support for the protesters in Egypt, who rose up against an ally of ours, than he has been on behalf of the protesters in Libya, who face far more brutality from a dictator who has never been a friend of ours and has, for years, been an international outlaw and supporter of terrorism. Don’t just take my word for it; listen to the words of a representative protester speaking to Anderson Cooper after President Obama finally did break his silence on Libya:


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The Libyan public are angry from the statement was given by President Obama today. Everybody was disappointed.


COOPER: You feel he didn’t go for enough?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No. … It’s nonsense. I thought that he’s going to give even threats or warning for this to stop. I expected more, to be honest. I expected to read between the lines from his speech. I did not see that. I was very disappointed, not me alone. Everybody was disappointed. We want America to support us.


If this sounds at all familiar, it is because it recalls our administration’s pathetic response to the brutality (and hopes on the street) in Iran in 2009, where democratic aspirants there literally asked, “Where’s Obama?”And while we simply cannot know what will come of Egypt, we do know whatever could come next in Libya — or, for that matter, Iran — could not be worse. Yet we do not clearly stand with the reformers. Our foreign policy is lost at sea because it is without direction. Or, perhaps even worse: because there is no map.
 
Editor’s note: CNN contributor William J. Bennett is the Washington fellow of the Claremont Institute. He was U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush.
 
CNN Opinion

Obama Administration’s Response to Crisis Puts American Lives, Interests in Danger

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment


Col. Oliver North – February 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. —  According to Hillary Rodham Clinton, “the safety and well-being of Americans has to be our highest priority.” Oh, really? That comment, proffered by our secretary of state Tuesday, is overshadowed by the serious jeopardy U.S. citizens now encounter thanks to the ideological blindness and national security incompetence of the Obama administration.

Since 2011 began, more than 20 Americans have been injured, killed or gone missing in the midst of violence in Lebanon, Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Mexico and the Indian Ocean. American citizens are being held by government authorities in Iran, Yemen and Pakistan and by pirates in Somalia. Our State Department says it is “concerned.” Last week, two U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents were ambushed in Mexico. Special Agent Jaime Zapata was killed, and his partner was grievously wounded. Mexican authorities now claim they have apprehended some of the perpetrators with “connections” to one or more drug cartels.

The Obama administration, with its history of “slow rolling” counter-narcotics assistance to Mexico and doing next to nothing to protect our borders, is now confronted now by news that a Saudi national has been apprehended in Texas with plans to attack sensitive U.S. infrastructure.


Last Friday, four Americans aboard the sailing vessel Quest were seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. A U.S. warship was ordered to the scene as the seaborne terrorists headed for safe haven in Somalia. If past is prologue, it should have ended like previous armed rescue operations conducted by U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Marines, South Korean navy commandos and even Russian and French Spec Ops units with the safe recovery of nearly all hostages.


But in this case, our ships were inexplicably ordered to simply tail the captured yacht while an FBI hostage negotiator conducted a parley with the pirates. During the negotiations, all four hostages were killed. The Obama administration now says it’s bringing the 15 captured pirates to the U.S. to “face justice” in a U.S. courtroom. Count on a “circus maximus” resulting in more of the “catch-and-release” program for terrorists.
In Pakistan, Raymond Allen Davis, an officially credentialed American with diplomatic immunity, is being held on murder charges at a notorious and often deadly detention facility in Lahore. Unnamed “U.S. officials” are widely quoted in international media claiming Davis is variously a “CIA officer,” a “CIA employee” or a “CIA contractor.” Any of these sobriquets are a virtual extra-judicial death sentence for an American held by anybody in Pakistan.


According to news reports, Pakistani authorities have moved Davis to a “separate area of the prison” and disarmed his jailors to prevent them from killing him. The State Department has filed a “protest note” complaining that the government in Islamabad is not abiding by its international obligations and held a surreal media conference call with an unnamed government official to explain diplomatic immunity.

Meanwhile, U.S. Army Specialist Bowe Bergdahl, initially declared MIA in June 2009 and now in the hands of the Taliban, isn’t even mentioned by the administration.
On Wednesday afternoon, after more than a week of violent protests and brutal suppression by Libyan despot Muammar 

Gaddafi, President Obama finally broke his silence on the bloodshed and declared it to be “outrageous” and “unacceptable” without ever mentioning Gaddafi by name. He also said his crack national security team is “exploring the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis.”

Unfortunately, his options in Libya are, perforce of other inept decisions, very limited. For the first time in over three decades, Iranian warships are steaming to Syria, and we have no U.S. carrier battle group in the Mediterranean Sea.
Instead of sending a U.S. aircraft carrier to the coast of Libya to prevent members of the Libyan Air Force from bombing their countrymen, our commander in chief has dispatched Mrs. Clinton to Geneva to confer with the absurdly impotent, anti-American United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Perhaps he has been too busy sending activists to protest in Wisconsin and ordering his Justice Department to “cease defending” the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act to have noticed that Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is a member of the UNHRC.

The Obama administration’s flaccid and inept responses to the crises in Mexico, North Africa and the broader Middle East are putting American citizens and U.S. interests in grave jeopardy. The O-Team could have staked out the moral high ground in January, when Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, subverted the fragile democratically elected government in Lebanon and protests began in Tunisia. The administration had a second chance to take a principled stand for human rights and freedom of assembly when popular unrest erupted in Iran and Egypt. Instead, Obama dithered. He eventually chose to ignore the Iranian students being bludgeoned in Tehran and ultimately supported a military coup to oust Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Now, with rebellion sweeping Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, which is the home of our 5th Fleet, and U.S. oil spiking at more than $100 per barrel, the highest it has been since 2008 — his commitment to the “safety and well-being of Americans” rings more hollow by the minute. His weakness, incoherence and passivity have bred chaos that places us all at risk.

— Oliver North is the host of “War Stories” on the Fox News Channel, the author of “American Heroes in Special Operations” and the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, a foundation that provides college scholarships to the sons and daughters of service members killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.


Fox News – War Stories

U.S. lobbies for UN rights sleuth on Iran-diplomats

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment
Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States is quietly lobbying to establish a United Nations special investigator on human rights abuses in Iran, for the first time in a decade, diplomats and activists said Thursday.
The U.S. delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council has sought support from countries in all regions for a draft resolution that would put Iran’s government back in the international limelight for alleged violations, they added.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi are to address the 47-member forum on Monday at the start of a three-week session. The two countries are at odds over Iran’s nuclear program which Washington and its allies fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons.
“The Americans are fairly determined to have a mandate created for a special rapporteur on the situation in Iran. It would be a strong symbolic and political signal,” said one Western envoy.

The European Union supports the move, in view of persecution of human rights defenders in Iran and the sharp rise in the number of executions since the start of the year, he said. The EU bloc has seven members on the Council.
But Iran and its allies among developing countries are expected to denounce the resolution and demand it be put to a vote rather than be adopted by consensus, diplomats said.
“It should pass. We would expect about one-third of the states to be in favor, one-third against and one-third to abstain,” the Western envoy said.
The U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva declined to specifically confirm the move, but voiced concern at thehuman rights situation in Iran saying it had deteriorated significantly since a contested presidential election in 2009.
“We are discussing with other members of the council on appropriate next steps to support Iranian human rights and express solidarity with the people in Iran who seek to exercise those rights freely and without fear,” a U.S. spokesman in Geneva told Reuters in response to an inquiry.
Iran had persistently refused to cooperate with existing U.N. investigators on specific themes, creating concern in the council that focused action on Iran may be warranted, he said.
“The Americans are trying to get everything in place so it works. It is very much their initiative,” one human rights activist told Reuters.
Since Iran’s 2009 presidential election, hundreds of reformists have been detained and put on trial in a crackdown on the pro-reform opposition. The election was followed by street protests, the most serious unrest since the Islamic Republic was founded in 1979. The state quashed the turmoil, blaming it on “seditionists” backed by its foreign enemies.
Mass detentions and trials followed the vote and two people were executed. The opposition says the vote was rigged but the authorities have strongly denied allegations of fraud.
Iran has witnessed a dramatic increase in executions so far in 2001, the U.N. human rights office said earlier this month. The rate was three times that of last year, with at least 66 people executed in January, it said.
The Council’s predecessor body, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, had a series of special rapporteurs on Iran from 1984 to 2002. The last independent U.N. investigator, Maurice Capithorne of Canada, was last allowed into the country in 1996.

Arab World: The troubled Island in Iran’s Backyard

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

OREN KESSLER – February 25, 2010
The White House’s ability to calm the turmoil in Bahrain will be key to stabilizing the Persian Gulf and checking Tehran’s influence.

Until last week, Bahrain was an overlooked, underreported speck on the regional map, an island fiefdom known in the West as home to an annual Formula One auto race and, presumably, a few oil wells.

But by the start of February, popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had stoked old grievances across the Arab world, and by mid-month a disparate collection of disaffected Bahrainis had come together to organize a large-scale protest for February 14, the 10th anniversary of a national charter aimed at quashing dissent by enacting limited political reforms. Bahrain’s Health Ministry estimates seven people have been killed since security forces opened fire on the protesters who first took their grievances to the streets.


On Wednesday, King Hamad Al Khalifa ordered the release of more than 300 prisoners, including 23 Shi’ites who had been accused of trying to topple him. The release was one of the major demands of the opposition, and underscored the regime’s desire to get reform talks going before stability is undermined further.

Hassan Meshaima was one of two exiles pardoned in the deal. On Wednesday he was already making his way back to Bahrain, but was detained in Lebanon because of a preexisting international warrant for his arrest on charges of subverting the monarchy.

Meshaima leads the al-Haq political group, considered more radical in its views than the more moderate Shi’ite groups that have so far led protests. His return could provide an opening for more radical elements – in the government and in the opposition – to stoke sectarian tensions between the Sunni ruling class and the Shi’ite majority.

BAHRAIN LIES in a strategic position in the Persian Gulf, through which a fifth of the world’s oil supplies pass, and is one of Washington’s closest regional allies.

The country hosts the headquarters of the 6,000-member US Navy Fifth Fleet – responsible for all naval forces in the Persian Gulf and as such, Bahrain served as a launch pad in both Iraq wars and would likely do the same in any future conflict with Iran.

The kingdom’s envoy to the US, Houda Ezra Nonoo, is the first Jewish ambassador of an Arab state and the third woman ambassador in Bahrain’s history. Safely ensconced in Washington, she has generally remained quiet throughout the recent unrest.

Economic and political discontent are one element of the Bahrain protests, but the rift that runs most deeply through the country is religious. Shi’ites account for about 70 percent of its 525,000 native-born citizens, and have long complained of discrimination at the hands of the Sunni monarchy, including being denied important political and military posts. The Sunni Al Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain since the early 19th century, and King Hamad took the throne in 1999.

To try to offset the Shi’ite majority, the regime has for years offered citizenship to Sunnis from Arab nations and elsewhere, notably South Asia, and many of the new citizens are given state jobs. Some victims of police brutality reported of their assailants bantering in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.

Bahrain is one of the few Gulf nation’s with a popularly elected parliament, but its powers are limited. Protesters want to end the monarchy’s ability to select the prime minister and other key political positions, and the leading Shi’ite political bloc has pulled its 18 lawmakers from the 40-seat parliament.

Analysts say the White House’s ability to calm the turmoil in Bahrain will be key to stabilizing the Persian Gulf and checking Iran’s influence.

In 1981, the Iranian-backed Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain attempted a coup, but Bahrain’s Shi’ites have long said their protests have nothing to do with Iran and everything with wanting to be accepted as full Bahraini citizens. They accuse the ruling family of waving the specter of Iranian expansion to stop the West from supporting them.

Shmuel Bar, director of studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, told The Jerusalem Post that if free and fair elections were held in Bahrain, the Shi’ite majority could be expected to vote in a pro-Iranian government.

“Shi’ites are 70 percent of the population, and they’re certainly not in favor of the regime,” he said.

“Iran does have extensive contacts there – Bahrain is its backyard.”

In 2009 a commander of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards caused a diplomatic incident between Tehran and Manama by describing Bahrain as Iran’s “14th province.”

“We all remember what happened when Saddam Hussein declared Kuwait the seventh province of Iraq,” Bar said.

EARLY THIS week The Washington Post reported that US officials are trying to convince their Gulf counterparts that the greatest danger in continuing violence would be a radicalization of Shi’ite elements of the protest movement.

“The failure of the United States to back the protests will fuel anger against the US government and drive the Shi’ites toward Iran,” a former official said. “Someone will step in to exploit this situation, and Iran is already moving to do that.”

“If the Iranian plans to oust the Bahrain government and appoint a loyal head of state in his place succeed, their multiple goals would be achieved without any military movement,” Haggai Carmon, an international attorney and author based in Israel and New York, wrote in The Huffington Post on Monday. “The Iranians will cause the ousting of the threatening Fifth Fleet from Manama port. They will hold a strategic point near the straits of Hormuz where 20% of the US oil supply passes and they will signal to the other Gulf states with Shi’ite population – such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to get in line with Iran, or else.”

But a 2008 diplomatic cable released last year by WikiLeaks offers a different perspective. In it, the US Embassy in Manama relayed warnings the Khalifa family had aired to US officials over Iran sowing dissent among Bahraini Shi’ites. “Some Bahraini Sunnis, in and out of government, suggest to foreigners (and may even believe themselves) that Iran is behind Shi’ite discontent here,” the cable said.

US officials, however, seemed skeptical: “In [diplomatic] post’s view, there is not convincing evidence of Iranian involvement here since at least the mid-1990s…

Shia discontent stems chiefly from their lower standard of living, unofficial exclusion from sensitive government positions and Sunni domination of parliament.”

THE REGION’S volatility renders predictions of any kind hazardous. But analysts at home and abroad are united in the belief that the influence of Bahrain on the future of the Arab world will far outweigh its size. Asked if he was hopeful about Bahrain’s prospects, Bar took a deep breath. “I’m a realist,” he said. “A pessimist is an optimist with experience.”


Iranian Opposition Schedules New Protests

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Wall Street Journal – Farnaz Fassihi

BEIRUT—Iran’s opposition announced a plan for nationwide street protests every Tuesday for the next three weeks as a way to increase pressure on the government. The Green Movement’s Organization Committee, which is based abroad and organizes protests via the Internet, said Thursday that the plan for “Tuesdays of Protest” was a result of consultations with advisers and suggestions from supporters inside Iran who wanted to keep the protests’ momentum going. A statement published on opposition websites said that protests would continue and move to other phases such as sit-ins, strikes, boycotts and civil resistance. Iran’s opposition has appeared invigorated in recent weeks amid the wave of Arab pro-democracy uprisings. The collapse of the governments in Tunisia and Egypt, and the unrest in Libya, has stirred many Iranians to push for change. “People want to witness what happened in Tunisia and Egypt in Iran as well,” said prominent film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a member of the opposition committee, in a video message to Iranians on Thursday. “Protesting every week will challenge the regime and in the future these weekly protests will turn into daily events.” The Iranian government has enhanced security in anticipation of unrest and as a warning sign. Tehran residents said that most of the capital’s main squares were packed with dozens of antiriot police and security forces, stopping cars and checking the identification cards of passersby.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, along with their wives, have been under strict house arrest for more than a week, effectively confining them without a judicial process or the public backlash that a trial might generate. Intelligence agents, working under a ministry directly supervised by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have taken over security for Messrs. Mousavi and Karroubi, according to Mr. Karroubi’s family. They have entered Mr. Karroubi’s house and locked him and his wife in two separate rooms, according to a statement by their children. The agents provide and prepare both leaders’ meals, the statement said, raising concerns that the leaders could be poisoned. In the past few days, conservative government news agencies have called for a clerical court to prosecute Mr. Karroubi for treason, a charge that carries the death penalty, and to defrock him, a symbolic punishment for clergy in Iran. The opposition has said it is calling the Tuesday protests partly to oppose the treatment of the leaders and demand an end to their house arrest, and also to bring attention to a string demands ranging from freeing political prisoners to free elections. The U.S. stepped up its pressure on Iran’s human-rights record on Wednesday, sanctioning two senior officials responsible for the post-election crackdowns in 2009 and 2010. The U.S. State Department said it will block assets in and prevent travel to the U.S. for Tehran’s prosecutor general, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, and the commander of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force, Mohammed Reza Naqdi. “The steady deterioration in human-rights conditions in Iran has obliged the international community to speak out time and again,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.
 
Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703905404576164511144132674.html

Obama Is Helping Iran

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

FLYNT AND HILLARY MANN LEVERETT – FEBRUARY 23, 2011

We take billionaire financier George Soros up on the bet he proffered to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week that “the Iranian regime will not be there in a year’s time.” In fact, we want to up the ante and wager that not only will the Islamic Republic still be Iran’s government in a year’s time, but that a year from now, the balance of influence and power in the Middle East will be tilted more decisively in Iran’s favor than it ever has been.
Just a decade ago, on the eve of the 9/11 attacks, the United States had cultivated what American policymakers like to call a strong “moderate” camp in the region, encompassing states reasonably well-disposed toward a negotiated peace with Israel and strategic cooperation with Washington: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf states, as well as Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey. On the other side, the Islamic Republic had an alliance of some standing with Syria, as well as ties to relatively weak militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Other “radical” states like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya were even more isolated.


Fast-forward to the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration as president of the United States, in January 2009. As a result of the Iraq war, the collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and some fairly astute diplomacy by Iran and its regional allies, the balance of influence and power across the Middle East had shifted significantly against the United States. Scenarios for “weaning” Syria away from Iran were becoming ever more fanciful as relations between Damascus and Tehran became increasingly strategic in quality. Turkey, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), was charting a genuinely independent foreign policy, including strategically consequential partnerships with Iran and Syria. Hamas and Hezbollah, legitimated by electoral successes, had emerged as decisively important political actors in Palestine and Lebanon.

It was looking progressively less likely that post-Saddam Iraq would be a meaningful strategic asset for Washington and ever more likely that Baghdad’s most important relationships would be with Iran, Syria, and Turkey. And, increasingly, U.S. allies like Oman and Qatar were aligning themselves with the Islamic Republic and other members of the Middle East’s “resistance bloc” on high-profile issues in the Arab-Israeli arena — as when the Qatari emir flew to Beirut a week after the 2006 Lebanon war to pledge massive reconstruction assistance to Hezbollah strongholds in the south and publicly defended Hezbollah’s retention of its military capabilities.

On Obama’s watch, the regional balance of influence and power has shifted even further away from the United States and toward Iran and its allies. The Islamic Republic has continued to deepen its alliances with Syria and Turkey and expand its influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Public opinion polls, for example, continue to show that the key leaders in the Middle East’s resistance bloc — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon’s Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas’s Khaled Mishaal, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — are all vastly more popular across the region than their counterparts in closely U.S.-aligned and supported regimes in Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Saudi Arabia.

And, now, the Obama administration stands by helplessly as new openings for Tehran to reset the regional balance in its favor emerge in Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and perhaps elsewhere. If these “pro-American” Arab political orders currently being challenged or upended by significant protest movements become at all more representative of their populations, they will no doubt become less enthusiastic about strategic cooperation with the United States. And, if these “pro-American” regimes are not replaced by salafi-dominated Islamist orders, the Arab governments that emerge from the present turmoil are likely to be at least somewhat receptive to Iran’s message of “resistance” and independence from Israel and the West.

Certainly, any government in Cairo that is even mildly more representative than Hosni Mubarak’s regime will not be willing to keep collaborating with Israel to enforce the siege of Gaza or to continue participating in the CIA’s rendition program to bring Egyptians back to Egypt to be tortured. Likewise, any political order in Bahrain that respected the reality of that country’s Shiite-majority population would be firmly opposed to the use of its territory as a platform for U.S. military action against Iranian interests.

Over the next year, all these developments will shift the regional balance even more against the United States and in favor of Iran. If Jordan — a loyal U.S. client state — were to come into play during this period, that would tilt things even further in Iran’s direction.

Against this, Soros, other American elites, the media, and the Obama administration all assert that the wave of popular unrest that is taking down one U.S. ally in the Middle East after another will now bring down the Islamic Republic — and perhaps the Assad government in Syria, too. This is truly a triumph of wishful thinking over thoughtful analysis.

Many of these same actors, of course, worked themselves up into quite a frenzy after the Islamic Republic’s June 2009 presidential election. For months, we were subjected to utterly unsubstantiated claims that the election had been stolen and that the Green Movement would sweep aside the Iranian “regime.” Like Soros today, many pundits who predicted the Islamic Republic’s demise in 2009 or 2010 put various time frames on their predictions — all of which, to the best of our knowledge, have passed without the Iranian system imploding. (But don’t worry about the devastating impact of such egregious malpractice on the careers of those who proved themselves so manifestly incompetent at Iran analysis. In today’s accountability-free America, every one of the Iran “experts” who were so wrong about the Green Movement in 2009 and 2010 is back at it again.)

From literally the day after Iran’s 2009 presidential election, we pointed out that the Green Movement could not succeed in bringing down the Islamic Republic, for two basic reasons: The movement did not represent anything close to a majority of Iranian society, and a majority of Iranians still support the idea of an Islamic Republic. Two additional factors are in play today, which make it even less likely that those who organized and participated in scattered demonstrations in Iran over the past week will be able to catalyze “regime change” there.
First, what is left of the Green Movement represents an even smaller portion of Iranian society than it did during the summer and fall of 2009. The failures of defeated presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to convincingly document their assertions of electoral fraud and the Green Movement’s pivotal role in the West’s progressive demonization of the Islamic Republic since June 2009 have not played well with most Iranians inside Iran. That’s why, for example, former President Mohammad Khatami has quietly distanced himself from what is left of the Green Movement — as has every reformist politician who wants to have a political future in the Islamic Republic. As a result of these highly consequential miscalculations by the opposition’s ostensible leaders, those who want to try again to organize a mass movement against the Islamic Republic have a much smaller pool of troops that they might potentially be able to mobilize. This is not a winning hand, even in an era of Facebook and Twitter.
Second, the effort to restart protests in Iran is taking place at a moment of real strategic opportunity for Tehran in the Middle East. The regional balance is shifting, in potentially decisive ways, in favor of the Islamic Republic and against its American adversary. In this context, for Mousavi and Karroubi to call their supporters into the streets on Feb. 14 — just three days after the Obama administration had started issuing its own exhortations for Iranians to revolt against their government and as Obama and his national security team reeled from the loss of Mubarak, America’s longtime ally in Egypt — was an extraordinary blunder.

The Iranian people are not likely to recognize as their political champions those whom they increasingly perceive as working against the national interest. Two of Ahmadinejad’s most prominent conservative opponents — former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former Revolutionary Guard commander and presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai — have publicly and severely criticized Mousavi and Karroubi over their recent actions and statements. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani, another Ahmadinejad opponent, told his colleagues last week, “The parliament condemns the Zionists, American, anti-revolutionary, and anti-national action of the misled seditionists,” accusing the two Green Movement leaders of falling into “the orchestrated trap of America.”

U.S. attempts to intervene in the Islamic Republic’s internal politics are typically maladroit and often backfire. But the Obama administration’s performance is setting new standards in this regard. Among other consequences, the administration’s latest initiative to stir up unrest in Iran will put what is left of the reform camp in Iranian politics at an even bigger disadvantage heading into parliamentary elections next year and the Islamic Republic’s next presidential election in 2013, because reformists are now in danger of being associated with an increasingly marginalized and discredited opposition movement that is, effectively, doing America’s bidding.

At a more strategic level, the Obama administration’s post-Ben Ali, post-Mubarak approach to Iran is putting important U.S. interests in serious jeopardy. It is putting at risk, first of all, the possibility of dealing constructively with an increasingly influential Islamic Republic in Iran. More broadly, at precisely the time when the United States needs to figure out how to deal with legitimate, genuinely independent Islamist movements and political orders, which are the most likely replacements for “pro-American” autocracies across the Middle East, the Obama administration’s approach to Iran is taking U.S. policy in exactly the opposition direction.The United States faces serious challenges in the Middle East. Its strategic position in this vital part of the world is eroding before our eyes. Indulging in fantasies about regime change in Iran will only make the situation worse.
Link: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/23/obama_is_helping_iran?page=0,1

Iranian Students Say The Number Of Arrests Show Regime Is Nervous

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

The Iranian authorities remain fearful of the power of student movements. That’s the conclusion of youth activists who point to the increasing pressures they face in their efforts to bring down the current regime.

Activists said more than 650 students have been arrested since the opposition staged sizeable street protests on February 14. That figure could not be independently confirmed, but activists say the arrests indicate that the regime remains wary. Two students were reportedly killed by security forces on February 14 and many more were detained before being released.That protest – the first mass opposition demonstration in Iran in over a year — was followed by another day of rallies on February 20 in Tehran and other cities. In the course of those rallies, a third student, Hamed Nour-Mohammadi, was reportedly killed by security forces in the southwestern city of Shiraz. Since then, students say, the arrests have continued.

‘Arrest Will Go On’
Salman Sima, an Iranian student and opposition supporter, says students were being taken from universities and that’s worrying, “because it could mean that waves of arrests will go on.”

Another activist, Pouyan Mahmudian, says that since the younger generation established itself as a driving force behind antigovernment protests in the Arab world, “the authorities in Iran have become increasingly wary of student movements in the country.”

“Students are the key part of Iran’s Green opposition movement, both in staging street protests and other actions as a [political] movement,” Mahmudian says. “The authorities are sensitive when it comes to the mood at universities, and they consider it a potential source of threats.”

Opposition websites reported that during the February 20 protests, security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters who were chanting “Death to the Dictator!”

But while Tehran’s police chief admitted deploying special forces in the capital, Iranian authorities overall maintain that the situation in the city was “peaceful.”

Authorities ‘Hijack’ The Protests
Whether the authorities have deliberately downplayed the scope of the protests is unclear. Student activists, however, have accused the authorities of “hijacking” the deaths of protesters for their own benefit.

According to activists, Nour-Mohammadi was killed by security forces as he was trying to escape their attacks. But Iran’s state-run media quoted the head of Shiraz University, Mohammad Moazeni, as saying Nour-Mohammadi died in a car accident and that he hadn’t taken part in the antigovernment rallies that day.

The atmosphere at Shiraz University reportedly remains tense since Nour-Mohammadi’s death. Student activists are not allowed to enter the university or its dormitories, and students and families have been told to remain silent on the subject of Nour-Mohammadi’s death.

Contrary accounts also followed the death of Sanee Zhaleh, an art student who was killed during the February 14 protests. Zhaleh’s friends and fellow students insisted he was a Green Movement supporter, but authorities claimed Zhaleh was a member of the Basij militia killed by antigovernment protesters.

Iranian youth have been at the center of recent protests in the country. Many students and young activists were among the 70 people killed in the mass unrest that followed the disputed reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

Mahmudian says that about 50 students, including some young women, were jailed before opposition protests began again this month. He says they are being held in harsh conditions.

“The rights stipulated for prisoners, by law, are even more restrictive for [political prisoners]. They are subjected to abuse as a way to put pressure on them,” Mahmudian says.

Opposition activists say many families of recently arrested students have no information about their children’s whereabouts.

According to Sima, two young women — Saeedeh Asgari and Farnaz Kamali — were among dozens of students from Tehran’s Azadi University taken to unknown locations by security forces earlier this week.



Radio Farda contributed to this report

Iran Flexing Its Muscle?

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Fox News – Feb 22, 2011

Israel on high alert as Iran warships enter Mediterranean.

Middle East in Transition, Prospects for Iran – February 19, 2011

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

iranncr | February 21, 2011
Washington (February 19, 2011) – in a conference titled “Middle East in Transition: Prospects for Iran,” former top-ranking U.S. officials urged Obama administration to remove the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/MEK) from the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

General Hugh Shelton says:
When you look at what MEK stands for, anti-nuclear development, separation of church and state, individual rights, then you can tell MEK is obviously the way that Iran needs to go!
NO General, you are dead wrong! MEK is not the way that Iran needs to go. MEK is a party whose infrastructure is based on ideology of religion Islam. By default the operation of such organization is based on the principle of Islam, which is in contradiction with preserving human rights for the people of any country. No ideological government can provide secularism and democracy for its people and unexceptionally MEK has no privilege over the current barbarian regime of IRI.  MEK is in fact, on numerous aspects, more dangerous than IRI since they are not sincere enough to talk transparent about their Islamic rules and regulations and behind their masks have managed to fool the world’s mind that they have respect for democracy and human rights, which is not true. MEK is not the future of Iran since it has no place among Iranians. How many times U.S. is willing to make the same mistakes again and again? Why U.S. doesn’t learn from its mistakes? Instead of getting help from MEK you need to connect with the real Iranian oppositions.